[JURIST] The Peruvian Catholic Bishops Conference (CEP) [organization website, in Spanish] on Monday strongly condemned a proposed law that would legalize abortion [JURIST news archive] in cases of rape or fetal deformity. The CEP's statement called the proposed legislation "arbitrary," labeling it "not just a matter of religion but of ethics, dignity, human rights and civilization." According to the CEP:
So life can not be waived for any reason, or sacrificed for others, even to save someone. When allowed exceptions to this principle, the door is opened to abortion, euthanasia, and any other discriminatory procedures.The bill was approved by a parliamentary committee last week, and will now be debated before the full Congress [official website, in Spanish]. Abortion is currently legal in Peru only in cases of imminent threat to the woman's health
Those who are inclined to sacrifice the life of the fetus in order to protect the life of the mother, even in unfortunate instances of rape, start from the assumption that the mother's life is worth more than the child, which is arbitrary and false. All human beings have equal dignity and equal worth.
Our Constitution recognizes that human life begins at conception, and notes that the unborn child is a subject of law in every respect. And the greatest of these rights is precisely the right to life.
Abortion has been an extremely contentious issue throughout Latin America, which has a large Catholic population. Last November, the Uruguayan Parliament [official website, in Spanish] failed to override [JURIST report] the presidential veto of a bill that would have decriminalized abortion. With the exception of Cuba, abortion is restricted across Latin American countries [HRW backgrounder], although most countries have passed legislation partially decriminalizing it in some, usually extenuating, circumstances.